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Family Of Slain 2-Year-Old Blasts N.J. Department Of Youth And Family Services

Says Agency Dropped Ball; Accused Arthur Morgan III Waives Extradition
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Arthur Morgan, III (L); Tierra Morgan (R) (credit: Handout)

Arthur Morgan, III (L); Tierra Morgan (R) (credit: Handout)

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LAKEHURST, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The man accused of murdering his 2-year-old daughter has waived extradition from California and could be back in New Jersey in the next three weeks.

On Thursday night, the family of the little girl lashed out at the Department of Youth and Family Services, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reports.

The toddler’s great grandfather is also blaming the court system for not doing enough to prevent Tierra Morgan’s death.

“My granddaughter pleaded with these people not to allow an unsupervised visit. Yet in spite of her request it was denied,” the man said.

It was what the grief-stricken mother told CBS 2 earlier this week.

“I reached out to the Department of Youth and Family Services when he hit her and he admitted to hitting her and they still deemed him fit as a parent,” Imani Benton said.

Benton said a case worker told the courts there was no reason to deny accused Arthur Morgan III unsupervised visitation.

“They wouldn’t grant me a final restraining order. Practically they told me you are a liar,” Benton said.

It was more than a week ago when teenagers found the 2-year-old dead, still strapped in her car seat and partially submerged in water. Sources say she was hit with a blunt object.

In a statement, the head the Department of Youth and Family Services said she initiated a case record review of the little girl’s history to “…ensure we did everything possible and to identify any instances for improvement.”

She said in October the restraining order against Arthur Morgan was dropped and the agency closed the case, finding the abuse allegations to be unfounded. However, a New Jersey Sen. Shirley Turner said three more incidents should have raised the red flag. She’s crafted legislation to change the system.

“Unfounded there’s nothing there, but if you say not substantiated but perhaps there is smoke you may not have found the fire but you know it bares watching,” Turner said.

Under Turner’s plan, Arthur Morgan would have been required to go to counseling before an unsupervised visit, allowing the Department of Youth and Family Services to track the family.

“My child was everything me,” Benton said.

Now, a mother has to spend the rest of her life without her child.

This is not the first time the agency has had to deal with a child dying in its care. The case of Faheem Williams, whose mummified body was found in a Newark basement, forced the Department of Youth and Family Services to overhaul its system in 2003.

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